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Remember that ’tis the season for theft in southern Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- It's just a few days after Thanksgiving and we're already hearing about a Christmas lights thief in town.

A homeowner in the area of 8th Street and Cheyenne Boulevard on the city's southwest side reported that she saw someone stealing her holiday light display just after 6 a.m. Friday.

The victim identified the thief as wearing a red hat, and who took the display that was still in the process of being installed. The victim posted about the theft on the Next Door social media app.

The end-of-year holiday period is a time when theft -- of Christmas decorations, delivery packages left on front porches, etc. -- can be more common.

Will stealing be worse during the current COVID-19 pandemic?

Maybe not. A spokesman with the Colorado Springs Police Department said overall theft reports are down this holiday season, but "porch piracy" continues to happen.

"The overall decline may be because more people are at home, who have been laid off or are working from home," said CSPD Lt. James Sokolik.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it has received a dozen reports of stolen packages during the past few weeks.

"It can be hard to catch these thieves," said Sgt. Deborah Mynatt. "They will even follow delivery trucks around. But what helps us is that more people have home surveillance systems that can record high-quality images, even at night."

But is there anything you can do to prevent a Christmas lights display from being taken?

Police said that if you can't secure your decorations on the ground, you should consider placing them on a roof or higher spot that is difficult to reach.

"Fortunately, Christmas decorations aren't stolen often," said Chris Ausec, a crime prevention officer with the CSPD. "And it's hard to know what happens to them when they are. Are they used by the thieves? Are they pawned off? We don't know."

Authorities said to prevent stolen packages, you should have them placed in a lock box, have them delivered at work or have someone pick it up for you.

"Because people are shopping more online, that's a lot more packages that could be stolen," Ausec said.

Authorities also warn people against leaving packages inside their vehicles, or anything that even looks like a valuable item that would entice a thief or burglar.

"One thing we'd like to ask is for people to lock their vehicles," Sokolik said. "We're seeing way too many vehicles with doors unlocked and even with keys in the ignition."

Finally, authorities remind victims of property crimes to file a report as soon as possible, and don't just post about it on social media.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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